Common Deviated Septum Symptoms

How do I know if I have a deviated septum?  What symptoms do most people experience when they have a deviated septum? After hitting my nose, I feel like it's a little crooked up high (only noticeable to me) and my nose gets really stuffed up when I sleep.  I also think right after it happened my eyes looked like the dark circles that are normally there got a little worse.  The tip of my nose gets a little sore sometimes too.

Doctor Answers 23

Symptoms of septal deviation

Deviated septums can generate a variety of symptoms and sometimes none at all (asymptomatic).

Generally a deviated septum may:

  1. Cause external visible deviation (a crooked or twisted nose also called a c-shaped deformity)
  2. Deviation of the tip
  3. Make one nostril appear larger than the other
  4. Cause obstructive symptoms
  5. Be associated with sinus congestion
  6. Be worse with swelling at night
  7. Be worse with swelling casued by alterations in the autonomic nasal cycle
  8. Be aggravated by allergic conditions

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Deviated Septum 101

The nasal septum is the midline partition of cartilage and bone that separates one side of the nose from the other. Normally, the septum is straight. When it is crooked, it is termed a deviated septum. A deviated septum can block the nasal passage and contribute to symptoms of nasal obstruction. If the septum is deviated to one side, then patients will have difficulty breathing out of that side. It is possible to have a septum that is deviated or buckled in more than one direction. This can cause nasal obstruction on both sides.

Septoplasty, is the name for the surgery used to correct nasal obstruction resulting from a deviated (crooked) septum. Because a septoplasty does not change the shape of the nose, it is not considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually covered by health insurance.

A septoplasty is performed by making an incision on the inside of of the nose. The nasal lining covering the septum is lifted off of the septum. The portion of the septum that blocks the nasal passage is usually removed or relocated to relieve the obstruction.

There are other reasons that patients have symptoms of nasal obstruction. These include enlargement of the turbinates or collapse of the mid-portion of the bridge or the nostril sidewalls. Fortunately, each of these problems can be corrected surgically at the time of a rhinoplasty or septoplasty.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Deviated Septum Symptoms

The most common symptom of a deviated nasal septum is a static nasal obstruction. It means the obstruction is always there and does not vary. The other type can be a dynamic obstruction caused by swelling of the turbinate glands inside the nose. These swell up with allergies, infections, hormonal changes etc.

Here is a test. You can get some Oxymetazolin spray over the counter and spray your nose. If it completely opens it, then you have dynamic or physiologic obstruction related to your turbinate glands. If the obstruction persists, then it is from a deviated septum. Typically it obstructs only one side only.

Note: Please do not use Oxymetazolin regularly in your nose as it can cause tolerance and chronic nasal obstruction called rhitis medicamentosa.

Your best option is to see an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, Throat doctor) to determine the cause of your nasal obstruction.

The deviation (crookedness) of the nose can be completely separate from the deviated septum issue. The sore tip should get better with time.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

A nose doctor can tell you if you have a deviated septum

The number one symptom of a deviated septum is nasal blockage. A deviated septum is a very common problem. But, just because you have nasal blockage does not mean that you have a deviated septum. Other causes of nasal blockage include swollen sinuses, enlarged inferior turbinates (the "heat pumps" of your nose), enlarged adenoids, sinus and nose polyps, and many others. To know why you have nasal blockage, you need to have your nose examined!

There are some clues that would suggest that you have a deviated septum. If your nose is really crooked, or if your nostrils are uneven, there is a good chance that you do have one.

But why guess? A nose specialist can examine you and tell you for sure.

Most of the time, the reason for nasal blockage is benign. But nose specialists occasionally find a problem that is more concerning and that requires treatment right away.

Daniel G. Becker, MD
Voorhees Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Septal Deviation Symptoms

The most common symptoms of deviated septum include;

  • Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils
  • recurrent or chronic sinus infections
  • Nasal drainage or post nasal dripping
  • Noisy breathing
  • crusting
  • nasal bleeding

A board certified rhinoplasty surgeon with extensive training is best suited to address your problem

Direct or indirect examination of the nose as well as CT scan can be used to determine the extent of septal deviation.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 185 reviews

Deviated septum

Although you may see some crookedness on the bridge of the nose, this isn't necessarily a deviated septum. You will beed a physical exam with an intra nasal exam using a speculum to see the deviation of a septum. imaging can also help. Difficulty with breathing is a multi factorial problem and not only from deviated septums. I would look for a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in noses. 

Sergio Alvarez, MD
Miami Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Deviated septum

A deviated septum can be seen on an examination and a CT scan as well.  Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Symptoms of deviated septum

The most common symptom of a deviated septum is difficulty breathing. This is typically worse on one side, but can be present on both. A deviated septum is best diagnosed by your doctor, who can examine the severity.

Vito C. Quatela, MD
Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Deviated septum

Thank you for question. Nasal congestion, especially at night, can be caused by various factors (septal deviation, turbinate hypertrophy, allergies, polyps, et cetera).  I would seek a surgeon who can perform a nasal endoscopy to rule out inflammatory disease, polyps or other nasal abnormalities. Usually board certified ENT and Facial Plastic Surgeon. Good luck, Dr. Bublik

Michael Bublik, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Is it a deviated septum?

The nasal septum is the wall that divides the left and right side of your nasal passages and also forms part of the bridge of your nose.  It is made of bone, cartilage and mucous membranes.  Twisting, or deviation, of the septum can internal obstruction of the breathing passages and twisting or deformity of the external nose.  It is a very common finding and can also case no symptoms.  Not everyone needs surgical correction.

In reality, the septum is one part of many parts of the nose and sinus passages.  A comprehensive assessment of the nose both externally and internally with the aid of endoscopy will determine what exactly is causing nasal blockage or twisting of the nose.  Have your surgeon help you understand this assessment so you can receive the best treatment for your nose!

Christopher Cote, MD
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.